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Consumers Expect Ever More Options for Customer Service

For marketers, the widening range of services complicates the equation

December 13, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce

Delivering high-quality customer service remains a critical but challenging problem for marketers. And given that some consumers say they will stop doing business with companies that provide bad customer experiences, it’s all the more important that businesses get it right. The proliferating range of communication channels used by consumers to contact businesses is further complicating those efforts.

US Internet Users Who Agree It's Very Important for Companies to Offer a Wide Variety of Customer Service Channels, by Demographic, Oct 2015 & Aug 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

According to a new customer experience study by Aspect, consumers’ desire for companies to provide a wide variety of communication channels continues to increase. Aspect’s survey, which compared responses between Q4 2016 and the corresponding period of 2015, found that a growing number of consumers from across a variety of demographic groups wanted companies to offer them more ways to communicate.

Companies that don’t adapt to this new omnichannel environment risk diminished customer perceptions and lost business. The number of respondents in Aspect’s survey who said they would stop doing business with a company that provided poor customer service grew between Q4 2015 and Q4 2016 in nearly every industry category studied. The only exception was in general retail, where even then the number of respondents remained close to 50%.

US Internet Users Who Have Stopped Doing Business with a Company due to Poor Customer Service, by Demographic and Industry, Q4 2015 & Q4 2016 (% of respondents of each group)

Although the request for more omnichannel customer service appears to transcend age differences, there are some distinctions in how different demographic groups like to communicate, a point emphasized in an eMarketer article from earlier this year.

—Jeremy Kressmann

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